Today is the official start to the Atlantic hurricane season, but you already knew that. After Alberto and Beryl, today seems anti-climactic in some ways. Nature does not go by man made calendars, that much is certain.
As we look at the tropics today, all is quiet in terms of anything developing in the Atlantic or east Pacific. Even though water temps are warm enough in most areas, it takes more than just warm water to create a tropical cyclone. As we begin the hurricane season, I invite you to watch our video tutorial on understanding tropical cyclones and their hazards.
If you live in south Florida, it has been wet as of late. This is due to a piece of energy getting pushed out ahead of a trough of low pressure moving across the Gulf of Mexico. The result has been fairly heavy rain originating from clusters of showers and storms moving generally eastward across the Gulf. This region is favored this time of year for development but conditions do not support that at this time. However, off and on heavy bursts of rain will continue to move across the southern part of Florida for the next day or two before a more normal pre-summer pattern sets in.
TD Beryl continues to exert its influence over parts of the Southeast today with continued heavy rainfall. Northern Florida and southeast Georgia are receiving the most abundant rains and with the slow movement of the depression, this will continue to be the case throughout the next day or two.
Beryl is forecast to move in to South Carolina and then off in to the Atlantic near Charleston. At that point, the depression could strengthen back in to a tropical storm as it passes south of Wilmington and eventually, Cape Hatteras. I doubt that Beryl will be able to regain much intensity but it is possible that tropical storm conditions will be felt along the Carolina coast tomorrow and Thursday.
Flood watches have been posted for a wide swath of the southeast coast since the tropical rains are persisting long enough to create a flooding risk. Luckily, Beryl will move out of the picture this week and the heavy rains will go with it. The good news out of all of this is that the rain is badly needed. Beryl may have ruined the Memorial Day weekend for some folks but its longer term benefit of providing much needed moisture will outweigh most of the negatives associated with the pre-season storm.
I do not see any additional areas to be concerned about as we enter the official start to the hurricane season this Friday. The east Pacific is also nice and quiet after two recent tropical cyclones, one of which became a major hurricane.
Note: I will be posting a blog about our successful testing our weather balloon in Texas and the remote cam at the NOAA Sentinel in Mississippi last week. I’ll post pictures, video and the data that we recorded from the balloon payload later this week.
It appears that quite a potent storm is going to take shape over the eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend as upper level energy digs in from the Great Plains. A surface low is forecast to form over the eastern Gulf and bring the potential for very heavy rain and severe weather to portions of Florida (figure 1).
Figure 1: Coastal Storm - 48 Hour Forecast from GFS
From there, the low is forecast to move up the East Coast, bringing with it wind and rain all the way to New England. For coastal areas, this will be basically a warm (relatively speaking) Nor’easter. If this were January, we would probably be looking at an epic snowstorm for a good deal of the East Coast. As it stand now, a decent rain event looks to be in store for a wide swath of the Florida peninsula all the way up to Maine with coastal areas experiencing rough seas and a stiff onshore flow (figure 2).
The storm is non-tropical in nature but will tap warm Gulf of Mexico water that is itself running well above normal for this time of year. This warm water will add energy and moisture to the storm system and provide the fuel for it to strengthen and dump copious amounts of rain along its track. If you have outdoor plans this weekend in Florida all the way to New England, keep up to date on the latest weather forecast for your area.
Figure 2: Coastal Storm - 60 Hour Forecast from GFS
One excellent tool to understand the impacts better of any storm event is to read the local forecast discussion from your National Weather Service office. You can find this by going to www.weather.gov and typing in your ZIP Code. Then scroll down on the landing page to find “Forecast Discussion”. It will have detailed meteorological information with timing, impacts and projected watch/warning info for any storm event forecast for your area. It’s a great tool, use it.